Your Guide to Purchasing Army Ration Kits for Camping

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Your Guide to Purchasing Army Ration Kits for Camping

Food supplies can be an important element to consider for camping, particularly if the trip will involve a great deal of travelling on foot. The weight of the food will have to be considered, as well as how long it will last, and the quality of diet it will provide. Army ration kits can be an effective way to achieve this, as they provide an easily prepared and eaten supply of food that is designed to offer a good source of calories, and a balanced diet.

Army rations can be found which originate from the militaries of many different countries, and the food they include will be tailored to the tastes of those countries. The food included in army ration kits is often canned or freeze dried, meaning that they can last for a very long time in storage. A wide range of army ration kits, as well as cooking equipment for camping, can be found on eBay.

The History of Army Rations

Army ration kits are distinct from garrison rations, which is the food served to soldiers while they are in base, and is prepared in a kitchen. The earliest rations would include a spirit ration, which gave soldiers an amount of alcohol such as rum or whiskey, to drink in the field. As preservation processes such as canning food became available, it became easier to include a greater variety of food in field rations.

Modern ration kits can offer a wide variety of different foods, and advances in dietary science can mean many kits include a carefully considered balance of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, as well as the right number of calories for a very active person. These rations are now not only used in the military, but also for emergency relief due to their high nutritional content and long shelf life.

Types of Army Ration

Many modern militaries produce different types of ration kit, which can be designed specifically for emergencies, or for different climates and fields of operation. There are a number of general types of ration kit, though many militaries will have different specific types.

Army ration kits can be purchased as single meal packs, or as full kits. It is also possible to find ration kits which are designed to sustain a large number of people for a period of time.

Ration Type


General Provisions

General provisions are a standard type of field ration, which will typically include a breakfast, main meal, sweet foods and sundries such as wet wipes and water purification tablets. The daily calorie amount can be anywhere up to 3000, as they are designed to be eaten by those undergoing a great deal of strenuous physical activity.

Climate Provisions

Many militaries produce rations which are designed specifically for different climates, with food and additional items which can help in either very hot or very cold parts of the world. Cold climate rations, for example, will include items such as oat mix, while hot climate rations may replace this with a fruit drink.


A large number of militaries across the world produce vegetarian rations, in order to provide for any vegetarians who are present. Vegetarian rations will often include imitation meat products, though there is typically less variety available than for the standard general provisions.


Many militaries provide rations which can be eaten by those who follow different faiths. For example, halal, kosher and other types of rations have all been produced, though may not be as easy to obtain as other types of army ration kit.


A patrol ration is a ration which has been designed specifically for use by a soldier while out on patrol, and is very easy to quickly prepare and consume. These rations will often include greater calorie content than other kits, and include dehydrated food that can be rehydrated with water, or even snow.


Emergency ration kits are typically much smaller than other types of kit, and feature very high calorie foodstuffs designed to keep a person going in an emergency situation. Emergency rations often include high calorie biscuits, energy bars and may also include chocolate and sweets to help maintain morale.

Self Heating

A more recently developed type of army ration kit is one which contains self heating meals. These rations can use a variety of methods to efficiently heat a packet of food, for example chemicals which heat upon contact with water, allowing a meal to quickly be heated without the use of fire.

Army Rations from Different Countries

Army ration kits can be found from a number of different countries, and the specifics of each may be different. The armies of different countries may use different methods to preserve food, as well as provide different portions and meals. A key differentiating element of these rations is that they are tailored to the cuisine and tastes of different nationalities.

US Army Rations

Ration kits produced for the US Army are among the most widely available¸ due to the amount that is produced.

* US Army rations are often known as MREs, or meal ready to eat. Each ration is sealed into a plastic bag, which will hold one full sized meal as well as a number of supplements, such as a dessert, fruit drink powder, and hard, long lasting crackers known as hardtack.

* Also often included are sundries such as toilet paper, matches and plastic cutlery. US rations also often include a chemical heater.

* First Strike Rations are designed to be eaten during intense periods of action, and are not intended to be relied upon for more than three days. They contain very high calorie food.

British Army Rations

Another type of rations kit which is widely available is the British Army ration kit.

* British army rations are stored in a small cardboard box, which contains a breakfast and main meal, as well as snacks and sundries.

* Each meal is contained within a light plastic pouch. Food items such as instant soup, hamburgers, pasta, and treacle pudding are used in these rations.

* Sweets such as boiled sweets and chocolate are also often included in British ration kits.

* Tissues, chewing gum and water purifying tablets are among the additional items included in these kits.

French Army Rations

French ration kits produced for the French Army are also available.

* French rations are packaged into small cardboard boxes. Each box contains two ready to eat main meals in thin tin cans, as well as a hors d'oeuvre, crackers, spreads and sweets such as chocolates and caramels.

* These rations also often include a foldable, disposable heater and solid fuel tablets.

* Typical food items include salmon with rice, chilli, tuna and potatoes and duck mousse.


Army ration kits can make an excellent choice of food supply for long camping trips, particularly those which will involve a great deal of walking and physical activity. Ration kits provide a varied selection of easily prepared and consumed meals, which have high energy content. They are also designed to be compact and light, which are perfect for taking camping. A wide range of army rations, cooking supplies and other camping equipment can be found on eBay.

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